Latest phase of Tory ‘hostile environment’ would force charities to help deport people sleeping rough

The Conservative government has been caught trying to persecute foreigners and some of the UK’s most vulnerable people – yet again. The scandal centres once again on the Home Office, which has been trying to pressgang homelessness charities into becoming border guards. The plan – euphemistically titled the Rough Sleeper Support Service (RSSS) – is to get charity outreach workers to pass on the personal details of homeless people to the Home Office where, if they were found to be from foreign countries, enforcement officers would deport them. The scheme…

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Gagging clauses: Chris Grayling silenced justice charities to stop them revealing what a fool he is

The Times‘ investigation into the Tory government’s use of non-disclosure agreements (gagging clauses) to prevent outside organisations from saying anything that would damage their reputation continues. Today the focus is on current Transport Secretary Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling and the disastrous changes to the probation service that he demanded when he was in charge of Justice. We all know that his ideas were stupid, short-sighted and dangerous because we have seen their result – but it seems we could have found this out much earlier, if he had not silenced every…

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‘Lobbying’ Act is performing exactly as intended: Stopping charities from campaigning

We knew this would happen when the so-called Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act was imposed on the UK, back in 2014. It was labelled the “Gagging Act”, for crying out loud! And we had hard evidence of it in February 2015 – more than two years ago, when John Pring of Disability News Service wrote: “Disability organisations have been intimidated by new lobbying laws – and the risk of losing government contracts – into failing to campaign on key issues like social care and welfare…

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“Hey, you! Don’t buy that Christmas single! Buy this!” Or why not buy ’em all?

It seems there’s a slight controversy about which political Christmas single we should all be buying. Should it be the single in memory of Jo Cox – a cover of The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want? The Stones themselves have waived their claim on royalties, meaning more money from each sale will go to the Jo Cox Foundation – and bookmaker William Hill has said it will donate money staked on the single being Christmas Number One to charity. You can use this link to buy…

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Tories blew £100k of public money hiding ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ firms – because they were profiting from it?

This Blog, and others, has spent years warning that the Conservative Government will spend huge amounts of public money hiding what it is doing. So the revelation that Iain Duncan Smith spent £100,000 hiding the names of companies that have exploited the cheap, unpaid workers available through ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ comes as no surprise. It is easy to see why. Between June 2011 and July 2012, the total profit made by Mandatory Work Activity provider companies, charities and councils was nearly £1 billion. There was no cost associated with that profit, either –…

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‘Immoral’ DWP is ‘stubbornly ignoring’ calls for sanctions review, say Churches

Churches and charities have attacked the Department for Work and Pensions’ refusal to undertake a full review of the benefit sanctions system. The DWP has issued a response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into benefit sanctions – four months overdue – but has failed to commit to a review as recommended. The Select Committee, the Government’s own advisors, the Social Security Advisory Committee, charities and Churches have all called for a full, independent review of the regime [along with This Writer and his colleagues]. These groups have highlighted the…

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Revealed: Cameron’s lies over Euro bill

– Verbal malfunction: “I’m not going to pay that bill on 1 December. If people think I are- I’m going to- They’ve got another thing coming.” Cameron can’t even announce his complaint properly. David Cameron has lied and lied again about the £1.7 billion bill from the European Union, it has been revealed. An investigation by Full Fact has shown that the UK has been taking part in an exercise to revise the way payments are calculated since at least May this year, meaning that discussions on the subject must…

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Who will ‘Help to Work’ really help?

The government’s latest draconian measure – to drive people who have been living off the state for more than three years into all the nonexistent jobs that ministers insist are waiting for them – was launched today. (Monday) Help to Work forces jobseekers to sign on every day, commit to six months of voluntary work, or sign up to a training scheme (the last two effectively removing them from the government’s unemployment figures without getting them a job) – or face having their Jobseeker’s Allowance docked for increasing lengths of…

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The end of patient confidentiality as NHS information is sold to insurers

Confidential information on NHS patients has been sold to insurance companies who used it in combination with information from credit rating agencies to identify customers and “refine” their premiums – increasing the costs of policies for thousands of customers, despite all the Tory-led government’s assurances to the contrary. According to the Daily Telegraph, “a major UK insurance company… was able to obtain 13 years of hospital data – covering 47 million patients. “As a result they recommended an increase in the costs of policies for thousands of customers last year.”…

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Who will (unofficially) sponsor David Cameron’s next Prime Ministerial statements?

Tobacco, fracking or private health companies seem the most likely choices. The Conservative-led Coalition has become an excellent practitioner of bait-and-switch fraud, it seems. First it ‘baits’ the general public by promising a new law, reforming part of society that is seen to have fallen below the standards expected here in the UK. Then it ‘switches’ the legislation into something else entirely. So it is with plans for a new law to end lobbying scandals. It won’t do anything of the sort. In fact, it is likely to lessen the…

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